US Trip 2015 – A visit to the City by the Bay

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When planning the trip, we had a huge list of things we wanted to do and places we wanted to visit. We had to shrink that list a bit, to fit everything into the days we had. But we made room enough for a night extra in San Francisco, so we could do everything we wanted to do there. But first, we had to drive down from Fort Bragg.

Since we arrived rather late in Fort Bragg, we first had to stop by Glass Beach before leaving, since it was too late to do that when we arrived. Not as much glass to see as I’ve seen in photos, but guess that’s what happens when people bring glass home with them (we have read about the problem, so we did expect this).

Glass Beach

But there’s still a lot of glass, and it’s nice to see that what once was trash, is now something beautiful. The cache there was nowhere to be found, and based on the logs, it looks like it’s been that way for a long time. But we did spot a lot of Californian ground squirrels.

You lookin' at me?

We continued down along the coast, stopping regularly to find caches. We had, as every other day on this trip, a long list of caches we wanted to find. Mostly virtual caches, earthcaches, caches with many favorite points or just caches very close to the road. Sometimes we also just have to stop to take a photo, it’s awesome how much we see along the road! The world is wonderful! We also take a lot of photos along the road, and so did the people in this car:

Selfie cam

When we drove through Stinson Beach, we had to do one more attempt at being FTF on a cache. But just as the last one, we couldn’t find anything around GZ. GZ actually made no sense at all at this cache. But we did find the nice sign below.

Stinson Beach

Speaking about nice signs, this one also made us smile:

Whoa!

Not long after, we drove out of the tunnel and could see the Golden Gate Bridge appear in front of us. That was simply awesome! We’ve been to San Francisco before (before we started geocaching), but we’ve never seen the bridge from this side before. We had planned several of the virtual caches and earthcaches on this side of the bridge. We have done a lot of research for this trip, so we knew exactly where to park. After a short walk under the bridge, we found ourselves at the view point, together with a million other tourists (might have been a few less, I stopped counting when I ran out of fingers to count on).

Looking out over the bay and the bridge

We spent quite some time in the area, getting to see the bridge from many different viewpoints and angels. The weather today was foggy and gray, until we arrived here – now it’s a lot less foggy. Funny how the fog went away when we arrived here in Fog City!

Us and the bridge

The last time we were here, we walked across the bridge. This time, we drove instead. We had planned to stop at the other side as well, to get the caches there. Somehow I ended up missing the exit, and we had to take a detour. The good thing about the detour, was that we could park at the same side as the caches. We got some more photos of the bridge, and spotted this nice little guy:

Hello

We did a virtual we had planned in the Presidio, and decided that we wanted to do one more before heading to the hotel. That was a virtual at a nice viewpoint, so I decided that we should spend a few minutes having fun with the camera and long exposures.

Nice view

We had a lot we wanted to do in San Francisco, so after getting some sleep at the hotel, we got up early to catch the first trip out to Alcatraz. It was a long walk from the hotel, but we stopped for the cache at the crooked Lombard Street, so we got rest a few minutes there before continuing.

Lombard Street

We also stopped at the cache at the Taylor Street turntable, a cache we almost sat on when we were in San Francisco 3-4 months before we started geocaching.

We made it in time for boarding, and arrived at an almost empty Alcatraz Island. We decided to wait a few minutes before heading up to start the audio tour, to see if we could avoid the huge crowd. We spent a few minutes in the gift shop, and by the time we made it to the audio tour start, the area was empty – awesome! We started the tour, and did the virtual cache at the same time.

Inside the main cell building

We got to see a lot of the island, and slowly made progress on the virtual cache. Some of the tasks was a bit more difficult than others, but we managed to escape successfully in the end.

Me at Alcatraz

That’s probably the virtual cache we’ve spent most time on (we’ve found almost 300 when writing this), but it’s also one of the best!

This is the second time we visit Alcatraz, and compared to last time, more parts of the island have been closed off. We stopped by the earthcache, before continuing back to wait for the next boat back. Alcatraz is well worth a visit, and I recommend anyone going to San Francisco to take the time to do the virtual cache there!

View from inside the recreation yard

Since we arrived back early enough to squeeze in a few extra caches, we decided to visit Coit Tower, and do the virtual cache there. We had no idea how many steps we had to walk to get there from the pier! And I do not want to know either! But we did stop at at a cache along the way, a very nice cache!

After walking what felt like a million steps, we finally arrived at Coit Tower. We got the information we needed within only a couple of minutes, but somehow ended up in the line to go to the top. It didn’t take long before I regretted paying for the ticket to go up. The line was looooong, and barely moved. I think we waited between 30-45 minutes before we finally made it to the elevator. The elevator operator was used to tourists, and practiced her Norwegian on the short ride up. It wasn’t that bad actually…

The view from the top was simply awesome, and I’m glad we ended up here.

View from Coit Tower

When we got back down, we found another cache right outside. The next stops on our list was Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, and since we left the car at the hotel, we had to walk. This time we were walking down the steps, that was a lot easier! We stopped by another cache along the way, but we couldn’t find any cache there – only this lousy view.

View from the cache we didn't find

By the time we made it to Pier 39, the weather became a lot better and everything was perfect. We found the traditional cache there, before walking over to visit the sea lions and the webcam there.

Pier 39

Before leaving Pier 39, we did a short stop at the Arcade and a stop at Boudin Bakery & Caf̩e to get something to eat. We continued to Musée Mécanique, both to do the virtual cache there and to have some fun. We’ve been there before, so we knew exactly how much fun antique penny operated machines may be.

Heltinnen operating a crane

We like to collect license plates from the states we’ve visited, and since we’ve visited a lot of new states on this trip, we had to find a lot of new license plates. We knew about a shop in San Francisco, so we made sure to stop there and get the plates we needed. We managed to forget two, but found one at another shop nearby. The last one we had to order from eBay (as none of the other places we checked later during the trip had that one).

After filling up with plates and souvenirs, we decided to take a taxi to Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies (been there too before) and do the virtual cache there.

Painted Ladies

We found a couple other caches in the area, before getting a Taxi back to Pier 39. We did a short detour to buy some taffy, before heading to our own event. Heltinnen says I bought to much, I disagree…

Taffy

We also got Coke with matching text again:

Coke

We usually have a log book we bring around with us when we’re having events around the world. We did bring it with us on this trip too, but we forgot it at the hotel this morning… So we had to improvise! It was fun to hear how long people had traveled to attend our event ( GC607DP ), it was a bit surprising to see that the locals were that outnumbered.

The event

The improvised event log turned out quite well, and it was time to get back to the hotel and get some sleep. We decided to take a taxi back, we had walked on enough asphalt that day…

Improvised log

Plates, taffy and log

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